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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Year of Plenty

The View From Your “Local”

 (Craig Goodwin)
(Craig Goodwin)

I put out the call last week for people to share about the local food and sustainability phenomenon from their perspective. I patterned the invite after one I made this summer to see a view from your garden. I explained that I'm more interested in personal stories than I am debates about carbon emission etc. I suspect that a large part of the wave of attention on local food, etc. has a very personal dimension, a symptom of deep longings in the personal space of our lives.

So the first round of responses are in. Keep them coming by emailing me at goody2230(at) or replyin in the comments section.

From Mom of 5:

We've moved slowly into an interest in sustainability. As my username suggests, our family footprint seems like it might be pretty large. And there's no question that our food bill can be pretty sizable. But I was curious -- and maybe a bit defensive -- about whether we really are using more than our share. Knowing my kids as I do, of course, I can't imagine the world without them, and because they're mine I'm quite sure the world is a much better place because of them. But can I make it actually better? For them, with them, through them?

So we pay attention to where our food comes from, we garden, we keep our lights off (although the tool Avista provides on their web site places us at the very bottom of consumption for a household of 7 people already), we share and reach out as best we can. I cringe when we're imperfect -- do I really have to drive all the way to Costco for the third time in a week? Sometimes, yes -- but I'm beginning to see some signs that we're moving in the right direction.

We have learned to eat all sorts of crazy vegetables because they happen to grow in our yard (so do carrots, thank goodness). One son who is taking Environmental Science at school is astonished that his classmates have to be taught to think about where their food comes from and how much fossil fuel their cars use. It seems normal to us that we know the name of the man who raised our beef and of the man who slaughtered it, and the woman who packaged it.

Those connections carry with them a poetry of their own, I think, and a sense of place and purpose that is very close to faith.  Mom of 5

From Hillary:

...we have as a family been eating much more locally(CSA during 6 months of the year and local farmer's market weekly in the other months). My motivations are however much more selfish. I find as a family we gain by eating locally in three big ways:

1. When our refrigerator is filled with organic fruits and veggies we have signed up for, we eat them and don't miss the junk food so much

2. By going to our local farm weekly my kids and I have a better appreciation of where our food comes from. Prior to this, I think they believed food was made/grown in the supermarket and fast food stores.

3. Lastly by supporting local farmers, I support the green spaces my neighbors occupy with their farms in lieu of housing subdivisions.

Though my motivations are more selfish, still appreciate the effects.  Hillary

From Amy:

We are Christian wannabe farmers (we do provide much of our own family's food-not a small undertaking with 18 children). We came to be interested in the local food movement because we believe in eating foods as close to the way God created them as possible and also in being good stewards of the land God provided...We also believe in multi-generational faithfulness, that is, providing for our future grandchildren and great grandchildren by our actions now...Finally, our interest in providing food for others is in the hopes of building community...In a nutshell, we are trying to be local farmers because we "want to take dominion of the earth for the glory of God". 

Year of Plenty

The Year of Plenty blog was created by Craig Goodwin in the winter of 2008 to chronicle the experiences of his family as they sought to consume everything local, used, homegrown or homemade. That journey was a wonderful introduction to people and movements in the Spokane area who are seeking the welfare of the community through local foods, farmers markets, community gardens, sustainable transportation, and more fulfilling and just patterns of consumption. In 2009 and beyond the blog will continue to report on these relationships and practices, all through the eyes of a family with young children. Craig manages the Millwood Farmers' Market, is a Master Food Preserver and Pastor at Millwood Presbyterian Church. Craig can be reached at